I recently returned from a weeklong vacation at my folk’s home in Indio with a very good friend of mine, where I relaxed on a couch across from a cathedral sized plastic Christmas tree, surrounded by my lovely, loud family, pushed a mile and a half every day under clear blue 65° skies and satisfied my next years quota of mercury by ingesting more fish than the entire cast of A Very Orca Christmas™ at Sea World™. It was by all accounts a great trip. For what it’s worth, here are some of my observations:
Homeland security: one embrace at a time
I’m not sure about the word quaint to describe the Palm Springs Airport, but when was the last time you got a hug from an airport employee who was happy to see you again. Let’s just say, if it was a Starbucks you wouldn’t have to order your venti half caff/decaf soymilk macchiato with a lemon twist and a touch of honey, they’d anticipate your arrival and have it waiting for you.
You are what you read
People are funny. Always being the last one off an airplane gives me a unique perspective into human nature. This time, as I was waiting to deplane, a well-dressed middle-aged woman passed me by with a brand-new hardcover book she’d found on one of the seats. She was trying to get the attention of the elderly woman in front of her whom she thought had left it behind by mistake. When the elderly woman said the book wasn’t hers, the middle-aged woman looked confused about what she should do. Appearing to be a fortunate find, my friend and I suggested she keep it as a sort of gift from the airplane gods. But instead of smiling and nodding in agreement — you know, in the spirit of the holiday — she held it slightly away, looked down at it over her nose and simply scoffed, as if it was the last book in the world she’d want to be caught reading. Instantly, my friend and I burst into laughter, we didn’t know the book, but judging by its cover (which clearly you shouldn’t do), it didn’t appear to be overtly pedestrian. It wasn’t like it was The Da Vinci Code or anything. Still, you gotta wonder, what does that book you’re reading right now say about you?
You are the exit you take
When you’re leaving the Palm Springs Airport you can take either the “Palm Springs” exit or the “to other resort cities” exit. There are no other choices. You’re either living large and heading to Palm Springs or you’re slumming it and going to one of those “other resort cities”. Don’t judge us, but we, of course, headed to the latter.
How to shop like an Englishman
When the front page story of the local paper is the grand opening of a Fresh N’ Easy store, you know you’re in an exciting town. Don’t get me wrong, I understand this particular franchise represents a new way of buying your food (according to the article, this is the way it’s done in England), but I think more than anything it legitimizes staying at home, relaxing on the couch and maybe even going for a float in the pool.
Despite 482 days a year of sunshine, there are no laws requiring solar panels on houses, supermarkets, mini malls or circus tents. Is it only me or does this strike anybody else as a little odd and perhaps even, oh, I don’t know… stupid. Don’t even get me started on lawns.
Magic hour on the red planet
No matter how desolate and uninviting the surrounding Mars-like landscape looks during the day, at sunset in the shadow of the snowcapped San Jacinitos mountains, you can almost understand what made people originally decide to settle in the desert. Assuming they came in the wintertime.
My mother’s lunacy will forever make me laugh. The scene is this: we’re watching Knocked Up, the latest film by Judd Apatow, which while sweet and poignant, is also delightfully vulgar. Not a film my mom would like or get. That said, she’s seen it.
Now, here’s why you gotta love my mom; instead of leaving the room to go to bed (it’s late and my parents tend to retire early these days), she gathers her knitting stuff together, sits down in front of the TV and begins to tell us (mostly my sisters, because they’re mothers and I’m somewhat of a lost cause) how depraved we are for liking such a film.
Of course, we’re not going to take such critique lying down; a). because there’s a tradition of debate to be upheld with my mom, b). she will continue to inject commentary over an already turned down sound system that has been carefully calibrated so as not to wake up the children with our depravity and vulgar sense of humor, and c). she clearly doesn’t understand the genius that is Judd Apatow and must — even if it means delaying our pleasure for it — be made to see the light.
However, before we could even address this oh so crucial last point with an enthusiastic championing of the hit The 40 Year Old Virgin (because this is the obvious place to start), my mom says, “Oh, the grandkids and I watched that. We ordered it from On-Demand”.
What came next can only be described as a very brief yet very pregnant moment of shock, followed by a synchronized, “What!?” from my two sisters, who were clearly dumbfounded by our mother’s interesting sense of judgment. Laughing hysterically, my mom explained she turned it off when she realized what it was and the kids hardly saw anything.
But I had to ask her what was it about the title The 40 Year Old Virgin and the rating Unrated that suggested, wholesome kid friendly entertainment? Let’s go kids, hurry up and grab some Orval Redenbacher’s, that movie about the 40-year-old virgin is on.
By this time we were all rolling and my mom could barely catch her breath, but still you gotta wonder when it all clicked for her? I’m guessing somewhere around the description of the Baja donkey show, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what sort of questions the kids start asking.
The right exit
As far as families go, I only truly know this one, but every moment I spend with them feels like a gift. I’m thankful to no end that we’re able to get together as often as we do… even if it happens to be in one of those “other resort cities”.
Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli!